The summer is the season when we all like to make use of the outdoor areas of our homes. The garden is in full bloom, lawns are lush and green, and there’s no better time of year to enjoy a gathering of friends and family in the summer sun. It’s all about having fun and taking time to relax – after all, daily life really can be a drudge! The patio is one of the most-used of all outdoor arras, and whether you have a large or a small garden, a paved area is worth having. It’s a great place for sitting around, having drinks while the children play, and if you have some shade, it’s the place to be when the sun is at its highest.
That’s where patio umbrellas do their job, and they really are very useful items indeed! The great thing about patio umbrellas is they come in a vast array of shapes, styles, colours and sizes, and they are not expensive. They tend to be well-made if you buy a good one, are easy to put up and take down, and the provide excellent shelter from the sun – and from the rain, too, so you can use your patio in all weathers. So, what doo you need to look for when buying a patio umbrella? Let’s see if we can help!
Size – this will be a determining factor in your purchase, as you need a patio umbrella that is going to give you plenty of cover. Some have a diameter of around 8-feet, which is perfectly adequate, while others can be wider still. Smaller than that is going to be a bit of a let-down, especially if you want to use it for seating a group of people, say, around a table, so we recommend you set 8ft as your lower diameter limit.
Height – how tall do you need your patio umbrella to be? You will find that they are extendable items that can be set at different heights, so you can raise and lower them – usually by way of a simple central lever on the pole – to the height you desire. Check that the mechanism is easy to use, as some are more complex than others. This brings us neatly to our next point!
Ease of Use – if you are leaving your patio umbrella in place – perhaps even permanently – you will need one that is easy to use, as you will be altering the height, and the direction of tilt if it is allowed for, to suit theposition of the sun. Some are designed with very simple mechanisms that can be changed by one person, while others may be a little more complex. Check this aspect out before you make your decision.
Protection – a patio umbrella serves a few main purposes: it protects you from the sun when it is at its hottest, it provides shelter from the rain, and it can also offer shelter from the wind, too. To do all this using one fabric umbrella takes some thought, so make sure you check out the protective qualities of the model you choose. You want one that provides UV protection, you need it to be waterproof, and you ideally want a model that can be angled against the wind.
Colour and Shape – the sheer choice in colours and styles of patio umbrellas is bewildering, so you should be looking around for one that suits your surroundings. You will find many that come in ‘earth’ colours so they blend in with a garden setting, and others that are deliberately bright for something a little different. We think a dark red or russet is a great choice, or a nice shade of brown or green for that natural look. Also, in addition to the traditional umbrella shapes you will find many that square in profile – these can be very attractive in the right setting and are worth checking out.
Frame – most are aluminium framed so they are light enough to move around but strong enough to withstand the weather. Be aware that some will not be designed for use in heavy wind, so if there is a storm coming, you need to be able to pack it up and put it away easily, and lightweight frame helps.
That’s about it from us, so why not check out the range of patio umbrellas available right now and see which is right for you? You’ll find that these inexpensive and long-lasting items make all the difference to your garden usage.